Although it will never and I repeat NEVER be like the one you can have in a real cevichería in any of the many places along the coast of the capital of the beautiful country where I was born – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – I’d still like to share with you my father’s recipe for Peruvian ceviche-the authentic one. (I’m just a bit biased, can you tell?)
But before we even get there, let me just tell you the reasons why I’m doing this. First, it is HOT as hell in Denver. I’m actually sitting in front of my laptop wearing almost nothing and even though all the windows are wide open and thank God there’s a breeze and the sun has gone down, igual me estoy derritiendo! So, nothing would make me happier than eating un ceviche acabadito de hacer in front of the most majestic of all oceans – the Pacific – with an ice-cold beer… ok, ok… enough daydreaming, I’ll have to settle for the view of the beautiful evergreens I can see from my home office’s window and a cold glass of limonada (let’s not forget I’m pregnant).
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m no cook. Well neither am I an expert in this subject, but one thing is for sure, my father was a cook, an excellent one, if I do say so myself. And so, my family was treated daily to his manjares. One of his favorites? Ceviche.
You’ll probably be surprised and incredulous when you see how simple the ingredients and how easy the preparation. We’re talking fresh fish, freshly squeezed lime juice, onions, salt and ají or hot peppers. Eso es todo.
In case you’re wondering how legit all this is, you may or may not know that even though there are many variations of ceviche depending on where you hail from in our great, big Latin American continent, the ORIGINAL version is from PERU!
Ok, enough bragging… Here goes:
- 1.5 lbs. white-fleshed fish such as Sea Bass (aka corvina) or Sole (aka lenguado)
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 ají limo rojo or rocoto (these are Peruvian chiles, but sometimes you can find them in Latino supermarkets)
- Juice from 16 key limes
First, you’ll need to cut the fish into small chunks (about 1/2 an inch thick) and mix it with the sliced red onion.
Then, you have to wash these two ingredients and then make sure you drain them thoroughly. Afterwards, you add the salt and the ají limo. (FYI: if you can’t find it, you might want to try a Serrano chile, it’s not the same, but it’s not bad.)
Mix in the freshly squeezed key lime juice.
Wait 5 minutes, add a few ice cubes to refresh the ingredients, mix well and remove them before they melt.
Serve the ceviche immediately accompanied by Peruvian corn and sweet potato (as in the imagine above).
That’s it! Just remember: FRESH, FRESH, FRESH is the key to success!!
Before I leave you, I’d like to explain that the reason why you’ll never be able to duplicate the taste of the ceviche you would eat in Lima has to do mainly with the ingredients. Even though the key lime is the closest thing to the Peruvian lime used in this recipe, it’s really not the same. Believe it or not, the same can be said about the fish and I guess it has something to do with the Pacific Ocean and its temperatures along Peru’s capital. So don’t feel bad, you just have to visit to see what I’m talking about
By the way, I have a disclaimer: I only recently dared to prepare this typical Peruvian dish mostly because I was afraid I’d suck and having a cook for a father, I’m sure you can imagine the pressure. Although I haven’t made it too many times, with each one it gets better and the best part is that it reminds me of how mi pobre padre had to hide the bowl he’d make it in because we’d try to devour it even before the table was set for lunch!
¡Qué lo disfruten!